Have the Japanese ever fully owned up to their WWII atrocities?

Just wondering. The Germans seems to have taken the “We were wrong and we’re sorry” route while historically Japan seems to have taken more of a “We regret this terrible misunderstanding, and it wasn’t really our fault” mode. Have the Japanese ever really owned up to their aggression and near genocidal attacks on the Chinese people. during WWII (ie Rape of Nanking etc.)

It seems like it took decades for the Japanese even to apologize to the Chinese. Have the Japanese people owned up to their WWII history yet?

You want to be a little more specific? Which Japanese? The Japanese government? The Japanese mass media? A bunch of Japanese guys?

The goverment apologized for Pearl Harbor not too long ago.

It took about the same time for the US governemt to apologize to OUR OWN citizens of Japanese ancestry for unjustifiably detaining them during the war?

AFAIK, the US government has never apologized for slaughtering Native Americans in the 19th Century.

It’s just not in the nature of governments to apologize for anything. They “regret” instead.

Kiribati was pretty much destroyed in WW2. The battle of Tarawa was one of the largest land battles in the South Pacific IIRC. Their economy is largely based on Japanese guilt money now.

The Emperor has apologised, IIRC. But most of the nations who suffered the atrocities committed by Japan in the past won’t accept anything but a full-blown apology from the government. They’re not going to get one from Koizumi though, that’s for sure.

There is still much animosity between South Korea and Japan over Japan’s conduct in WW2 (and, for that matter, for Japan’s treatment of Korea for the half-century before that). This included, among other crimes, the forced service and sexual exploitation of Korean “comfort women.” The Japanese government has avoided this topic every time it’s brought up, when these women press for reparations.

Also, about two years ago South Korea temporarily cut off official ties with Tokyo when Japanese schools approved the use of a revisionist history book which ommitted entirely Japan’s conduct on the Korean peninsula.

This really bugs me. The Japanese government should apologize flatly, and the U.S. government should apologize flatly. What are they avoiding? In the case of the U.S., they’ve already paid so much in support of American Indians that they wouldn’t be liable for more in another lawsuit, would they?

Tojo was executed, ya know.

I don’t really see what the problem is with governments and appologies. It is really simple: Write a big long speech, have G.W. read it, hand the other country a wad of cash so you don’t have to do it anymore, and that’s that! Besides, the money that governments deal with is entirely fake. It’s like money earned in the stock market: Your stock may have gone from 1.5 to 200, but if you don’t cash in, that money is in limbo.

Still, the attitude of many in the Japanese political/business/cultural “establishment” over the ensuing half-century looked a lot like they were hoping everyone will be too polite to bring it up and eventually those who remember the events will die off. So you have things such as sanitized textbooks that ignore that it was Japan that started a war of expansionist aggression, taking instead a generic “gee how bad is all war” tack, and half-hearted “apologies” of the “mistakes were made” kind, designed more to act magnanimous before your home constituency than to convey any sense of true regret to the wronged parts. Which, to the aggrieved parties, gives the impression like they still don’t get what was the big deal.

just to follow up a little, and maybe even to hijack, what WOULD be an “acceptable” apology?

No matter what apologies are handed down by some political type of person or group, they are nothing more than words. I am sure, as I feel, that many many people of both Japan as well as America, Germany, etc… are very very deeply sorry that any of ww2’s violence happened (with the exception of the death of Hitler, that guy just had to go) No words of apology makes it any better, nor does it take away any of the death and injury, so why does one even care if they apologize or “own” up to it…? :frowning:

I’d just like to point out that most of the average people here in Japan WOULD like to see the history textbooks revised, and there are groups formed whose purpose is to push for those revisions. Its the government and the people with power who are holding out.

“But most of the nations who suffered the atrocities committed by Japan in the past won’t accept anything but a full-blown apology from the government. They’re not going to get one from Koizumi though, that’s for sure.”
Good. They shouldn’t. The Japan that exists today is only culturally similar to that of Tojo’s time. That and the minor fact they are more or less single-handedly responsible for the economic redevelopment of said countries (read: cheap knock-offs of Japanese products byt he Koreans & Chinese), more than address the issue.

So, by your logic, that the PRC can go ahead and nuke Japan until it glows, then swiftly changes a few people at the top of the government, and all is fine?

If the PRC officials who order the attacks are still around, then THEY should apologize.

In short, anyone complicit in the acts should apologize.

How do you suppose Koizumi was involved in Japanese atrocities during WWII or earlier ? He was born in 42. So, he’s not at all at fault for ANY of those WWII events. And neither are the majority of any modern governments. ‘Regret’ is the best alternative.

Ah, but, since the society of Japan of 2003 is totally transformed from the society of the Japan of the War Cabinet, the establishment should have no problem saying, “yes, those predecessors of ours were truly a buncha rat bastards who were entirely to blame for all that suffering. Kids, learn that lesson!”

But I guess that IS the biggest obstacle. The “appropriate apology” would probably require the “people in power” to do something that to them would be like pissing on their predecessors’ graves… and opening themselves up to one day being pissed on.

As Tsubaki mentioned, it seems it’s politicians and people in high economic power who try to “rehabilitate” the past. The common man/woman apparently HAS moved on. But w/o a thorough consciousness of what evil was done in the name of “national glory”, the neighbors may fear what happens once living memory of that time passes for good.

Yes, but that’s not an apology and you still can’t “apologize”.

From Merriam-Webster

The excess of apology over regret starts from “with implied…”

What guilt or fault does the modern government bear ?

OTOH, for regret

Since WWII was beyond control for today’s governments, this seems the logical expression.

You got that right. It’s about time Japan offered at least a sincere apology but I don’t see that coming any time soon. Prime minister Koizumi still visits the Yasukuni shrine where many of the WWII leaders and soldiers - including Class A war criminals - are memorialized. The fact that he can get away with it despite complaints from Korea should tell you something about the Japanese government. And not just the government - racism against Koreans and other non-Japanes asians is still a serious problem in all areas of the Japanese society.

For what it’s worth, my wife told me that when she was in school in Japan, Pearl HArbor was never mentioned.

When she came here as an exchange student for her senior year of high school and took US history she was truly shocked by what she learned.

Yeah! Those damn japs should thank the US for ending WWII. Taking the action to incinerate hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children to strike terror in the general population took real guts, and showed them the error of their ways, by example.

Actions are more important than words. An “official” apology is just a bunch of words. IMHO, the Japanese have redeemed themselves in the many years since by conducting themselves as responsible international citizens.